ESSCom moots reinforcements to counter cross-border crime in Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Semporna

ESSCom commander Datuk Ahmad Fuad Othman speaks during an interview in Lahad Datu September 19, 2020. ― Bernama pic
ESSCom commander Datuk Ahmad Fuad Othman speaks during an interview in Lahad Datu September 19, 2020. ― Bernama pic

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KOTA KINABALU, May 18 — The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) has submitted a proposal to the government for an additional battalion of the General Operations Force (PGA) in Lahad Datu, as well as a VAT69 commando troop and a Special Action Unit for Sandakan and Semporna.

ESSCom Commander Datuk Ahmad Fuad Othman said the proposal was made to enhance security in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone), as well as prevent intrusion by cross-border criminals.

“For PGA, we plan to have two brigades, namely the Eastern Brigade ESSCom in Lahad Datu and the Western Brigade in Kota Kinabalu, with each brigade having three battalions.

“The reason being that the waters in ESSZone can be penetrated within 20 to 30 minutes from Indonesia or the Philippines,” he told Bernama recently.

He said security in ESSZone should also be enhanced with acquisition of additional highy-tech radar, boats for the Marine Police Force, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, and the Malaysian Armed Forces, as well as to set up additional security checkpoints on the front lines.

“The threat is always there, that’s why the ‘fence’ in the ESSZone needs to be constantly strengthened,” he said.

Ahmad Fuad said that the cooperation between ESSCom was helpful in tackling various cross -border criminal threats such as kidnap for ransom (KFR) and drug smuggling.

“The sharing of intelligence information by intelligence officers enables the monitoring of KFR elements this allows us to take immediate action,” he added. — Bernama

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